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David Hopps and George Dobell
August 14, 2012
News : IPL 'catalyst' in Pietersen controversy - Flower
Players/Officials: Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen has apologised to the ECB over the derogatory text messages that he sent about members of the England dressing room to South Africa players in a last-ditch attempt to gain forgiveness and be selected for World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
Pietersen and his representatives were waiting on Tuesday evening for the ECB to respond to his gesture with Saturday's deadline for naming England's World Twenty20 party looming ever closer.
The apology presumably constituted an admission of guilt and as such leaves him at risk of a heavy fine, a suspension or both. If England's managing director, Hugh Morris, continues to pursue a hard line it could automatically rule him out of a tournament in which he desperately wants to take part.
The ECB would make no official comment on Tuesday night, perhaps recognising that leaks in the past have been unhelpful in the reconciliation process.
ESPNcricinfo understands a decision, nevertheless, is expected on Wednesday, at which point extensive statements from both sides can be anticipated. There was a growing sense at Lord's of the need to settle the issue before the final Test against South Africa at Lord's which begins on Thursday. England, 1-0 down in the series, need to win the Test to retain their status as the No 1 Test side in the world.
The ECB have failed to make Pietersen available for Surrey in their vital relegation championship match against Middlesex, at the Oval, beginning on Wednesday, as both parties recognised that it would be inappropriate as confidential negotiations were reaching a delicate stage.
The decision for the ECB was when to replace punishment with rehabilitation.
In another development in the Pietersen soap opera, Stuart Broad issued a statement denying any part in the creation of a parody Twitter account that so infuriated Pietersen and led him to suspect that his England team-mates were secretly deriding him.
Broad, the England Twenty20 International captain, and Alex Hales, who took Pietersen's place at the top of the order in England's T20 side, were both alleged to have been involved in the account by Pietersen's friend, the chatshow host Piers Morgan.
The real creator of the parody account, Richard Bailey, came forward on Monday and not only apologised for the trouble he had caused, but clarified that he had worked alone. While Bailey is a friend of Broad and Hales, all parties insist that no professional players were in any way involved either in setting up the account or supplying information.
"Following last night's statement by Mr Richard Bailey that he was responsible for creating a parody Twitter account in Kevin Pietersen's name, I would like to confirm that I had no involvement in this whatsoever," Broad said
"I met with the Managing Director, England Cricket, Hugh Morris this morning and assured him that I did not play any role in the creation of this account or provide Mr Bailey with any information regarding Kevin Pietersen or the England team.
"As has been widely reported Mr Bailey is a friend of mine, but we had no conversations regarding this issue at all and I am pleased that he has now decided to close the parody account down."
Broad's words echo the results of an ESPNcricinfo investigations last week that identified the creator of the parody account, but found no evidence that any England player had been actively involved in it at any stage. That information was communicated to senior officials of the ECB.
Morris added: "Having discussed this matter with Stuart, I am fully satisfied that he acted in a professional manner at all times and did not breach any confidences regarding fellow England players.
"ECB also accepts the apology Mr Bailey offered last night to the England team via his Twitter account and his re-assurances that no professional cricketers were involved in the creation of this site."
David Hopps is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo and George Dobell is senior correspondent
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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